“What ya think, Boss?” Matt Divani had managed to hold his questions long enough to exit the nursing home parking lot.
I let out a deep ‘leave me be’ grunt and focused on the road ahead. My elbow propped up on the window and fingers touched to my lips, so deep in thought that the tropical scenery caused bitterness. Like a child, I pouted. Brooded over activities my father prevented me from enjoying.
On the surface, Beau Reve seemed like any other coastal town in Jenithiyah. Long stretches of unspoiled beach, fresh ocean breezes, tall palm trees, and white sand, but it was different. Known as the island within an island, you could only get there by riding a slow ferry across a treacherous watery path. People came to escape the stress of everyday life, but there was no place in Jenithiyah that could offer that kind of luxury to me.
I drove through the city – or what they called a city. The largest building was two stories. No big grocery stores or department stores. No bright lights. Only rows of small shops surrounded by sand, palm trees, and ocean breezes.
I kept driving until the city faded into sprawling country. Which didn’t take long, making it feel like I’d taken a wrong turn. I turned into a long dirt drive and entered the gates to the Diamond Cove resort.
I handed my vehicle over to a man in a red jacket and headed inside carrying my suitcase.
Gold lined from double-doored lobby entrance to the marble front desk. An old man sat on a stool on the other side, cupping the bowl of a pipe and reading a newspaper.
“Need a light?” I offered, noticing the missing smoke.
“Nope.” The old man snapped his paper closed. “Just and old comfortable habit. Promised the grandkids I’d quit.” He shook his head. “All girls, you know how they like to worry … yet here I am chomping on an empty pipe … what can I do for ya?”
“You got a couple of secluded bungalows?” I asked. “Something on the beach, off to itself. I don’t want to be bothered.”
“Not much of that happens here. No matter where I put ya.”
“I prefer to be as off the grid as possible.”
“Got some that are out of the way.” He said. “Won’t let no one rent ’em usually. They’re not well lit, need some redecorating, but I guess I could let ya have ’em – I do own the place.” He chatted as he typed. “Lucky for you I decided to come hang around for a while.”
“You know how it is with the wife. Love ’em to death – but if you have to be around ’em too long …” He let out a whistle.
I gave a polite smile. My relationships never lasted long enough to experience the need for space.
“I got three out there.” He mused aloud.
“I’ll take two.” I nodded at the brothers behind me.
“Here ya go.” He held out a set of keys, holding them tight as I touched them. He leaned across the counter. His wrinkled eyes narrowed. “I know who you are, son. Are you gonna cause me trouble?”
“Alright then.” He released his hold on the keys. “Drive all the way past the last bungalow. They’re a little ways past that. Haven’t had maintenance out in a while. The dune grass is probably thigh high.”
“I’ll send someone out to make sure it’s not too bad. Should be okay on the inside. I keep them up in case of emergencies. Ya know – busy weekends and all.” He chuckled. “Enjoy your stay, boys.”
This was not how my life was supposed to be at this moment. I laid on a soft mattress in a bungalow well hidden behind tall grass and trees. The landscaping reminded of a tiny rainforest and I could imagine enjoying it with someone special.
I staring at the ceiling – pissed about the turn of events. It damn sure wasn’t how I imagined my first visit to Beau Reve.
The destination promised peace and romance.
‘Diamond Cove – where romance thrives and love blossoms.’ The advertisements had peaked my interest several times recently, causing me to ignore work and day dream at my desk – A small moment of solitude. Just me and Jessie. No club. No Divanis and no problems.
The hospitality channel played on the television, digging the knife in a little deeper. Couple’s massages – surprise your lover – plan a private picnic – hire a singer – make it a moment you’ll never forget – constantly feeding ideas and reminding me of what could’ve been.
“Leave your problems behind.” Maybe for those who had no true problems to begin with.
I endured the long ferry ride, faced the perils of foggy water. Gazed at a nearly perfect blue sky. Took in the glorious scent of wildflowers, watched waves crash into rocks – I had no one to share it with. I wouldn’t walk hand in hand on the beach. I wouldn’t steal kisses behind the large rocks, or roll haplessly on white sand.
Another impossible dream. My life had a way of snuffing out happiness and hope. The moment my lawyer, Eric De’Luca called with the information, I knew I had to leave Jessie behind. I’d have to be content only loving her from a distance.
It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t right! Why was love such a dirty word? Why couldn’t I enjoy the throes of passion? Why did threats of destruction taint the moments and murder all hope?
I got out of bed and opened the duffle bag sitting on the long dresser. I pulled out a package, opened it, powered up the burner phone, and headed for the beach.
I sat down in the sand and dialed the number I knew by heart. It rang a long time. I wondered if she would answer an unknown number.
“Hello?” She answered with question.
“Jessie?” I smiled, hearing her voice drove away the depression that attempted to overwhelm me. “It’s Sean.”
“I know your voice, Sean.” she stated flatly.
“Do you?” I flirted. “Wow, nice to know I’m that memorable.”
“Who could forget an ego that big?”
“Ouch!” I kidded.
“Why are you using a blocked number?” She sounded upset and she had every right to be.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have tricked you, but….” I said softly. “I can’t get you off my mind.”
“Really?” her voice softened. “You sound so far away.”
“I am – I guess.” I admitted.
“Where are you?”
“I shouldn’t tell you that, sweetheart.” I sighed. “I was wrong to push you away …”
“You had your reasons, Sean.”
“And those reasons have not changed.”
“Then why are you calling me?”
“Because those reasons don’t matter anymore … I mean they do but I know I can…I can protect you. I have to.”
“Protect me from what, Sean? Those guys at De’Bris? I don’t think they will be bothering us anymore.”
“We shouldn’t talk about that on the phone Jessie.”
“There is a lot we should talk about…” she whispered but I think she was saying it to herself.
“Like what, Jessie?”
“Sean, I think we should just keep going our separate ways. There is so much you don’t know … I …”
“I don’t care. I don’t give a damn about what you’re hiding from me. There is nothing you could tell me that would change my feelings for you.”
“I would love to believe that,” she whispered again. “I have to go…”
“What are you doing right now?” I flirted.
“I’m taking a bath.”
“Damn it, woman! You are so wrong for that.”
“For what?” she sighed. “You wanted to know.”
“That’s what I’m talking about.” I chuckled. “You’re so – hard to forget. You didn’t quit did you?”
She was silent for a while.
“Please say you’ll be there when I return.”
“I … I’m not the right kind of girl to work at your club.”
“I don’t’ really want you taking your clothes off for anyone but me … I’m sorry … What I meant to say is I love seeing you.”
“You’re the one who broke it off.”
“I was wrong.”
“Maybe you were right.”
“I thought I was but this hurts too much. I need you.”
“I don’t think you’re the type of man who needs anyone.”
“You know me better than that. That’s what you want to believe because you’re hurting, too. I’m sorry I hurt you – it’s the last thing I wanted to do.”
“Well, maybe I don’t want to go through it again.”
“Take me back, Jess.”
“We didn’t exactly date in the first place.”
I closed my eyes. She used the words I used that day, spitting them in my face like acid.
“Okay, wrong choice of words … be my girl.”
“I’ll let you know.”
“That’s it? You’ll let me know?”
“I’ll let you know,” she repeated sweetly.
“I’ll be waiting by the phone.” I promised.
“This phone? That’s real funny. Are you playing a game because …”
“Shit … I forgot … Until I get back, let me call you.”
“Ugh … what am I doing?” She mused in whispered tones.
“I wish I was there right now.”
Jessie giggled. “I bet you do.”
“Is that bathtub big enough for two?”
“I doubt it.”
“We’ll make it work.” I chuckled. “I’m closing my eyes and I can see you.”
“Oh yeah – I know exactly what you look like naked.”
“Sure you do.”
“I do. Mmmm – breasts that fit perfectly in my hands – the tiny diamond shaped birthmark below your left nipple – the barely noticeable scar on your hip …”
She grew quiet, except for heated, slightly rapid breaths.
“I want to touch you. Watch you quiver when I run my fingers over that spot inside your thigh. Like you did before.”
Her moan brought a smile to my lips and my heart.
“Are you enjoying your bath, Jessie?”
“A lot more than the last one,” she sighed.
“Why is that?”
“It’s – nothing. I hear waves. You’re on the beach somewhere?”
“I love the beach. I think about moving closer to the water.”
“Pick one and I’ll take you there.”
Demora was a landlocked city. No ocean touched its borders. There was a small lake, but it wasn’t the same.
“I don’t know, Sean.”
I heard a splash of water.
“Nothing feels as good as sitting in the sand and feeling the salty breeze rush over your body or watching the waves dance and play against the shore.”
She sighed. “You always tempt me … but …”
“Just think about it. I have to go.”
I snapped the phone in half and tossed both pieces into the ocean. Damn. I’d done it again, even though I knew keeping her put her life in jeopardy.